At our Kensington Grange home, we have recently implemented an Intergenerational Program designed to foster connection and positive community engagement between children of a variety of ages and the elderly. It is widely known that children and older people benefit enormously from spending time together. The program provides cognitive stimulation and creativity, as well as opportunities for learning and conversation. There are three age groups of children, each with a slightly different focus, who attend Kensington Grange on a regular basis. Our residents are invited to attend the program where they are given the opportunity to reminisce about their past, as well as engage with and build connections with children from the local area.
Younger children from a local child care centre take part in the program bi-monthly. The children enjoy a group activity such as a ball game, singing or balloon play, before they settle at a variety of table activities such as puzzles, board games and drawing/colouring. The residents delight in the presence of the children and enjoy playing games or reading to them. Similarly, Allanvale Pre-school have two groups of children who are involved in the program on a quarterly basis. The children bring their snacks, which they eat together with the residents before participating in various activities.
A group of grades three to six primary school children attend the program monthly as part of their school’s Kind Kids Club. Kind Kids Clubs aim to promote kindness and empathy among children, by participating in community engagement activities and encouraging random acts of kindness. By attending the Intergenerational Program at Kensington Grange, the children are making a positive contribution to their local community by tapping into friendships with the elderly. Of course, the children also gain much from the program too. There is opportunity for both the old and the young to teach and learn skills that may get lost across the generations – practical activities such as gardening, cooking, playing board games, crafting or making cards. In September the group will be writing poetry together. When collaborating on activities as a group, staff find that inhibitions are lowered, creativity is heightened and cooperation is key. There is give and take, helping and receiving help.
Cross generational friendships and connections hold so many benefits for everyone who takes part in them. When the old and the young collaborate in a fun, positive and creative environment there is much to be gained. If you would like to arrange a visit to one of our homes click here.